Best Scandal 2013 | Commissioner Sexting Her Cousin | Arts & Entertainment | South Florida

The first rule of politics is: Do not take nude pictures of yourself while in an elected office and share them with your convict relatives whom you are sleeping with, then leave them lying around where someone could find them and blackmail you out of office. Although incest, pornography, blackmail, and felon relatives go together like peanut butter and chocolate, for Boynton Beach Commissioner Marlene Ross, it didn't make for a good public relations mission. Ross admits sending the photos to her cousin Rogelio Vera and succumbing to his sexual advances for several months but said that she was bullied to change her votes by "sinister" former commissioner turned lobbyist David Katz for years and that the exposition of her affair was a personal vendetta for political ends. Ross resigned in December 2012. No word whether she and her cousin have been able to patch things up.

Cassadee Pope's first solo release was a slowed-down, dramatic cover of a song made famous by Natalie Imbruglia. The West Palm Beach siren sings "Torn" like hers is a damaged teenaged heart sashaying into a breakup. Not long after the song hit the web, Pope ended up on season three of The Voice. 'Round these parts, we remember her Wellington High School band Blake and the pop-punk group she fronted, Hey Monday. But Pope's pipes took a turn to the west after she was coached under the keen guidance of country superstar Blake Shelton. "Over You," which she sang on the show, ended up bitch-slapping "Gangnam Style" out of the number-one place on the iTunes charts. Pope is now a rising star, signed to Republic Nashville, a Big Machine Records imprint, and dating All Time Low's drummer. If there were one local voice we have confidence will rise above the rest, it's this local girl gone good, and gone country.

South Florida's Scott Prouty became a major influence in the 2012 presidential elections while on the clock bartending during a Republican Party fundraiser last year in Boca Raton. He captured Republican candidate Mitt Romney disparaging 47 percent of Americans as people who are "dependent on the government" and "believe they are victims." Admirably, Prouty did not seek profit from revealing his recording. "The guy was running for the presidency, and these were his core beliefs. And I think everybody can judge whether that's appropriate or not or whether they believe the same way he does," he told MSNBC. "I felt an obligation to expose the things he was saying." In doing so, he may have changed the course of history.

Venus the Amazing Chimera Cat — yes, that's her name — is a striking feline whose face is half-black and half-orange, split right down the middle like a black-and-white cookie. Her eyes are likewise mixed — she's got one blue and one green. One day, a friend of a friend of Venus' owner posted the kitty's picture on Reddit, and it received more than 1 million clicks in less than 24 hours. Soon, a Facebook page was established and garnered more than 100,000 likes; next thing, the cat was making the rounds at Good Morning America and the Today Show. Now, her owner (who goes only by Christina to ward off crazed fans) is cashing in on Venus' devilishly beautiful visage, having followed in the footsteps of Boo the World's Cutest Pomeranian Dog, and struck a deal with stuffed-animal-maker Gund. Although in pictures, Venus sometimes comes off as tough with diamond bling on her collar and a show-off-her-tail attitude, Christina insists she's just another misunderstood supermodel. "She's rather shy; she doesn't do tricks." Look for the toy on store shelves by Christmas.

There are no really good places to come out of the closet. Even if you were raised by lesbians — even if your adolescence was spent in the company of geeks and thespians, and even if you spent the first three years of high school going to the GSA "to support your friends" — even if you've fooled nobody at all with your straight schtick, ever, and you kind of know it, coming out will be a little awk, if only because it's always awk to speak to your parents in even a roundabout way about what you like to do with your naughty bits. So do it at home. (Unless your parents are religious fundamentalists, in which case you should come out someplace with a heavy police presence and multiple opportunities for quick egress. Fort Lauderdale airport will do. Tell them just before you slip through security, a single angry digit raised in their pug-ugly faces, and fly away to freedom.)

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